Zhang Ziyi News
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Ziyi in Harper's Bazaar
Earlier this year Ziyi was in Athens to watch and report on the lighting of the Olympic Torch for the 2008 Games in Beijing. While there she posed for an Olympic themed photoshoot, appearing as Athena on the Acropolis, in front of such monuments as the Parthenon. It's been published in this month's edition of Harper's Bazaar China.
Gallery: Harpers Bazaar - 11 pics
Thanks to Wangerlai for the pictures.
Favorites of 2007
A look back at Ziyi in 2007. A two page gallery of my favorite Ziyi pictures from last year. Events, candids, portraits, magazine scans, the best of the best.
Gallery: 2007 Favorites - 110 pics
Videos page update
The videos page has been updated with around 40 new videos, bringing it mostly current up through late 2007 and some of 2008. There are several hundred video clips available in the Z's Videos forum thread. A few of the additions are listed below.
Princess Raccoon farewell party - On the last day of filming, the crew of Princess Raccoon held a heartwarming little farewell party. If you want to see Z genuinely happy, this is the video for you.
School Visit - As a Special Olympics Global Ambassador, Ziyi visited the Beijing Haidian Special School in March of 2007. Another genuinely heartwarming video.
Mercedes-Benz - Ziyi has always preferred to be associated with luxury brands and here she's at the top of the game. A hard-drivin Z shows off the SLK Passion 08 roadster in this 45-second spot.
Platinum Guild International - Another luxury brand which announced Ziyi to be their "Grand Ambassador" to China, with a major press conference in Beijing during March 2007. Z looks even more beautiful here than she usually does, which is saying alot. The stylish and well-edited Making-Of clips are recommended.
Care for Children - Care for Children is a charity that helps find foster parents for orphans in rural China. Ziyi has been supporting them since early 2007. This is a brief report on the charity by E! Extras. In English.
Peacock Dance - This is a lovely six minute dance from the 1994 Taoli Cup National Youth Dance Competition, where she won the Performance Prize.
Special Olympics 2007 - Ziyi and music producer Quincy Jones (of "We are the World" fame) speak at the Opening Ceremony of the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games, held in Shanghai on October 2, 2007.
Chinese World Influence award - Also called the "You Bring Charm to the World" award, millions of Chinese voted online to determine the 10 most influential Chinese people of 2006. Ziyi is presented the award by 'The Banquet' director Feng Xiaogang.
CCTV New Year's Gala 2008 - A very sparkly Ziyi in a huge pink dress sings for CCTV's annual Chinese New Year's festival, held on Febraury 6. This is the second time she has done so, her first appearance was in 2000.
Special thanks to Zphenom for his tireless efforts in collecting Ziyi videos from around the web.
Articles page update
Thirteen new additions have been added to the Articles page, most from 2006-2007, but also one from 2002. Most of these were translated from Chinese, and several have videos accompanying them. Ziyi is more than just a sweetheart; she is a thoughtful, articulate sweetheart, and this is not lost in translation. A few are listed below.
Phoenix TV Interview - March 28, 2007
What sort of ability do you crave most?
A: I think it must be...the ability to repay others.
Q: Repay others? You mean, with gratitude? Repay who, to be exact?
A: I'm not thinking of one person in particular. And there're just so many to repay and thank - my teachers who mentor me, the directors, my parents, friends who gave me so much love.
I think the society is getting too complex, everyone's impatient and wants more. Take babies for instance. Even an infant would grab things they want - they wouldn't give it up. It's in our nature. Even in prayers we're asking for this or that. Shouldn't humans learn to give more than to take? I don't know if we're asking too much.
Q: Didn't anyone recognize you [in New York]?
A: Yes, but it's OK...something funny happened while I was there: I was walking my dog in NY City one day...it crapped and I was picking its defecate up to the bin, when a stranger came over...a foreigner...and asked me if I was her. It was embarrassing but very funny. To be looking for a rubbish bin with crap in your hands when this happened...
Interview magazine: Ziyi - July 2006
Ziyi: she's spirited, she's in demand, she's starring in big American movies, and oh, yeah, she's from China— talking to the woman who may just be the first Chinese actress to become a household name in America...
So for you what matters is the content?
ZZ: Yes. Otherwise I could have done a lot of Hollywood movies. After Crouching Tiger I got a lot of offers, but I turned them down because they were all victim roles--poor girls sold to America to be a wife or whatever. I know I have the ability to go deeper, to take on more original roles than that. That's why I really appreciated Geisha, because it allowed us to show the world what kind of actors we are and what kind of characters we can play--not just action, kick-ass parts.
This 'Crouching Tiger' Tames Her Audience - Washington Post, April 2006
This lucky fellow finds himself alone with her -- but for a translator and a photographer; and next to her on a couch where she proves surprisingly warm and funny, yet at the same time a committed saleswoman for her client, the Chinese film industry.
She's wearing -- if you must know -- a black taffeta knee skirt, full and billowy, almost like a crinoline petticoat; a kind of tan tunic over a tank top; some discreet diamonds around the neck and on a big-faced wristwatch. Her hair is a thick cascade almost down to the waist, raven black. Her skin is unbearably flawless, her legs lithe and muscular. Are we missing anything? Sigh. Yeah, she also smells really good.
She looks -- well, a humble newsroom hack could try for years and never get her right, so let's turn to poets, who know a thing or two about adjective-slinging.
Ezra Pound, before he went mad as a March hare, played with the Japanese form of haiku and came up with: "Petals on a wet, black bough."...
Zhang Ziyi: A Chinese Look - Face to Face (CCTV) April, 2006
[An excellent long interview done shortly after the release of Jasmine Women.]
Jiang Wen and Joan Chen are also in it. Working with actors like them, did you feel pressure from them or the other way around?
Ziyi: I didn't want to give anybody pressure, neither did I feel any pressure from them. Initially I was a little nervous because I didn't know Joan Chen. Later, we got to know each other better. She plays my character's mother. We filmed many scenes together. After a while, I realized good actors can really compliment one another, like you give her something more and she will give you something more in return.
Compared to them, you apparently have less experience in acting than they do, but you seem about to surpass them any time now as far as fame is concerned.
Ziyi: This so-called renown or fame means little to me. Be it praise or snub, it's nothing compared to what kind of actor you really are and you attitude toward your life and your career. I think the fact that I was able to come this far, step by step, and appeared in some quality movies probably has something to do with my mindset. I'm not in a hurry to make so many movies a year or earn so much money. It's not my life. What I want in my life is to be really creative in a movie and give it soul.
... I wanted to be a good actor and make significant movies of high artistic value. That is what has motivated me to advance one step at a time. Maybe a lot of people still can't let go of the idea that I' have been had so much luck and landed so many good roles which should have been their's. I believe everything happens for a reason and I have not come this far just by luck.
Eastern Horizon Interview - April 2006
[Another interesting interview covering her entire career.]
Host: After these films, did you feel you can act, know how to act and are a good actor?
ZZ: That's correct. I realized I would use what I have learned in my next creative project. So, I don't think I will wish to prepare mentally for the right mood before filming a scene in the future, like I've somehow reached a certain level of enlightenment. I no longer see the need to memorize every word in the script and then rehearse every move and how to deliver my lines. I just don't like to work like this any more. I like unblemished naturalness, which sometimes gives you the urge to cry, or smile.
Interview with Beijing Youth Weekly - February, 2006
Just back in Beijing from a trip to Xi'an with a few American friends to see the terracotta warriors, following a vacation with her parents in Hawaii, Zhang Ziyi looked sprite and in good spirit. This reporter met her in the Palace Hotel (in downtown Beijing), with her mother by her side...
Q: I never thought you'd be so pessimistic about love?
Z: I'm now in a phase where I can't expect too much emotionally. Maybe some day I'll meet someone and I suddenly feel I can just stop making movies for good. Just maybe. Some women probably need men for their material provisions. Not me. I am quite a feminist. For me as an individual, I never want to rely on anyone. What I need more than anything else is heart-felt understanding. I'm looking for a learned man who can win my reverence and
respect under any circumstances.
Zhang Ziyi: A to Z - China Showbiz (CCTV-4), June 2002
H (Hobby): "Read good books. As many as I can. Imagination is very important for actors. When I was in college, the teachers never taught us how to portray every type of character there is. Instead, they showed us the way (method) to understand a role and become the character. You can imagine yourself as a particular person in the story you are reading. And watch movies, be it on DVD or in theaters, as many as possible."
P (Parents): "I'm a tough girl and my parents know this very well. But they always worry about me. I know their hearts hurt more when I'm sad. I often had to ask them to take it easy when they read rumors about and false accusations against me and talked about suing the publications. I had to tell them all this is expected in this business and we just have to adapt ourselves to it. In a way it's survival of the fittest."
Special thanks to Jiminthemiddle and KY Chong for their translation efforts.
Ziyi in Instyle China
There's a lovely photoshoot of Ziyi in the July 2008 issue of Instyle China
Zhang Ziyi in Vogue China
Ziyi is on the cover of the April 2008 issue of Vogue China, with some lovely pictures inside.
Thanks to Wangerlai for the news.
Ziyi wants to build a film empire
According to this news story Ziyi may be planning on having a bigger role behind the camera for her next few films.
World famous Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi is set to collaborate with Wendi Deng, wife of News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch, in order to establish a brand new film studio of her own.
Sources told China.org.cn that in latest issue of the Vogue magazine, there's a big interview on Wendi Deng. The astute housewife of the media mogul, revealed in her interview that she planned to establish a DreamWorks-esque film company together with friends Zhang Ziyi and Florence Sloan.
The first film production, according to various reports, will probably be a film adaptation of the Empress by Shan Sa, a French-Chinese author. Gladiator director Ridley Scott may be invited to direct.
Zhang Ziyi's reps didn't deny the report when the Chinese media sought comments.
Ji Lingling, Zhang's publicist, carefully said, "There are always many plans, but I can't say anything before everything is finalized."
The friendship between Wendi Deng and Zhang Ziyi began about 5 or 6 years ago. Mrs. Murdoch once noted that Zhang didn't speak English well when they first met, but later Zhang significantly improved. Zhang also met her present boyfriend Vivi Nevo, a mysterious Israeli tycoon holding major shares of Time Warner, on Deng's yacht.
Zhang Ziyi has just finished shooting Mei Lanfang, a Chen Kaige-directed biopic about a very famous Chinese Peking Opera master. Even though she was absent from film and the public eye for a whole year, she still managed to find a place as No.5 in the Chinese richest celebrities rankings (click HERE to see detailed story), published by Forbes yesterday.
Ziyi supports orphans in Chengdu
In early December Ziyi was in Chengdu as part of her ongoing support of Care for Children, a charity that "exists to relieve hardship, distress and sickness in abandoned and orphaned children in China ."
From an article at the Times Online
Crouching Tiger star goes into battle for million hidden orphans
The screen goddess stooped to give ten-year-old Li Hubin a teddy bear and a hug. The room fell silent as Zhang Ziyi, the star of Memoirs of a Geisha and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, listened to the chatter of the child who made history by becoming the first orphan to be handed to foster parents in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
For a disabled orphan in China, the chances of finding a loving home were once slim. But Zhang has teamed up with a British social worker to make sure that more abandoned children are given the chance of a family life.
Care for Children, a British-founded charity, has pioneered the concept of foster care in China.
“There are so many in China who do not have my good fortune. I want to give something back to society and since I love children this seemed like a way for me to make a difference,” Zhang, the charity’s patron, said. Such words from a screen idol could actually make a difference in a country where charity work is in its infancy.
And from another article:
Zhang Ziyi has provided support for the charity, first by visiting Care for Children families in Kunming in March 2007 followed by personal appearances at Shangri-La's CFC fundraising events.
The backbone of Shangri-La's fundraising is a guest donation program called "Dare to Care". Guests are invited to donate to CFC through red packets placed in all guestrooms at night and in restaurant bill folders. Donations can also be made directly by guests upon check out.
"I'm thrilled to be celebrating the opening of this beautiful hotel, but even more, to help commemorate the launch of ‘Dare to Care' in Chengdu," said Zhang Ziyi. "I've seen for myself how this foster programme can change the lives of not only the children, but their foster parents too. I want to help create happy families in China."
And a few pictures.
Ziyi in Malaysia to raise awareness of endangered species
From here: Zhang Ziyi is seen in a recent photo playing with orangutans in Sabah, Malaysia. The actress was there to raise awareness for the protection of this highly-endangered species. Besides focusing on her soaring career, Zhang Ziyi has been building herself up as a pro-charity public persona. She was seen last week in Chengdu, southwestern China, fundraising for orphaned local children.
"Mother and Daughter"
Ziyi filmed this commercial for China Mobile in 1997. That makes it one of her earliest, coming after her film Touching Starlight but before The Road Home. It's beautifully made and titled "Mother and Daughter". Ziyi appears one-minute in.
Beautiful pictures of Ziyi from her advertisements for Platinum Guild International.
Filming of Zhang Ziyi's next film, Mei Lanfang, began in Beijing on July 14. It is a $15 million project under famed Chinese director Chen Kaige ("Farewell My Concubine" and "The Emperor and the Assassin".) It will chronicle the life of the famous star of Peking opera Mei Lanfang. Expected to be released before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, some hope the film will provide a glimpse into traditional Chinese culture at a time when the world's attention will be focused on China.
Ziyi Films thread: Mei Lanfang
News portals: Sina - Tom - Sohu
Director Chen Kaige
Profile - Wikipedia
"One of the most prominent and accomplished of the post-"Cultural Revolution" Chinese directors...Chen's films are renowned both for their emotional delicacy and their lavish spectacle, using an extensive palette of color and state-of-the-art film technology."
"The majority of his films constitute an intelligent and powerfully felt meditation on recent Chinese history, within which, for him, the Cultural Revolution remains a defining moment. "It made," he has said, "cultural hooligans of us." He has a reputation within China as a philosophical director, and his style is indeed marked by a laconic handling of narrative and a classical reticence. This is largely deceptive: underneath is an unyielding anger and unflinching integrity."
On Ziyi's role
Zhang‘s character Meng Xiaodong (1907 - 1977) was another Peking opera artist, always played bearded men. In 1925, Shanghai-born 18 year-old Meng Xiaodong met Mei for the first time while performing on stage together during a minister's birthday part in Beijing. Over a year later, she married Mei and became his third wife. They had a daughter together just before their marriage ended in 1931. They had never spoken to each other again.
Chen raises curtain on 'Mei Lan Fang'
BEIJING -- Chen Kaige on Thursday celebrated the start of photography on "Mei Lan Fang," his $15 million cinematic biography of China's most famous male opera star, played by Hong Kong pop music idol Leon Lai, who stars opposite mainland star Zhang Ziyi.
After an acrobatic Peking Opera intro on a replica period stage at the Beijing Film Studios, Chen, who last touched on the opera tradition in 1993's "Farewell My Concubine," offered thanks for the support of a who's-who of Chinese and overseas media company executives gathered.
Asked why the tale of Mei (1894-1961), who kept Peking Opera alive through Japan's occupation of China and the Communists' rise to power, is important today, Chen said, "Because of his character, nothing more. You will have your answer once the film is made."
Mei is well known for having stood up to the Japanese occupiers who liked his art but for whom he is said to have refused to perform. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Japan's worst atrocities in China, known as the rape of Nanjing, when as many as 300,000 Chinese civilians were killed by the Japanese army....
Zhang Ziyi, Leon Lai prepare for new movie
Zhang Ziyi plays opera performer Meng Xiaodong. She is currently learning the intricacies of Peking Opera from two teachers, and found walking in platform shoes was her greatest challenge.
``I don't know anything about Peking Opera, so I have to start from scratch,'' she said. ``The hardest thing is walking, wearing these really tall boots ... I practiced that for a very long time.''
Ziyi has worked with several of the cast members before including Sun Honglei (of The Road Home), Feng Yuanzheng (Xie Ming in Purple Butterfly) and Chen Daoming (the Emperor in Hero)
Leon Lai (lots of HK films including "Seven Swords")
Chen Hong (Chen Kaige's wife, "The Promise")
Chen Daoming ("Hero")
Sun Honglei ("The Road Home")
Feng Yuanzheng ("Purple Butterfly")
Ando Masanobu (Kazuo Kiriyama in "Battle Royale")
Production design is by William Chang, who has won many awards, especially for his work on Wong Kar Wai's films (including 2046 and In The Mood For Love.)
Photos of Ziyi's character Meng Xiaodong
Historical Videos of Mei Lanfang himself
"Farewell my concubine" (1956) Sword dance
Mei Lanfang's hand gestures
Scene from "Peony Pavilion"
Mei Lanfang's hidden book of historical drama images - best audio
Zhang Ziyi at the July 19 Press Conference
Zhang Ziyi News Archive - Lots of good Z stuff.